When I sat down to write this week’s article, it occurred to me that this week is article number forty. Forty, y’all?!? Holy shit. Forty weeks is the length of a pregnancy! I may not have a newborn to show off, but the fruits of my labor take another form.
With all that writing, I was bound to learn something, (and you know when I learn something I like to share it—once a teacher, always a teacher). So here we go: four things I’ve learned from forty weeks of writing.
#1: Check your ego
When I first started writing for SMV, the idea of writing something that people other than my friends would see scared the crap out of me. Actually, even the idea of my friends seeing my writing was terrifying!
For the first couple months, every time one of my articles posted, I had a knot in my stomach. Who would read it? What would they think? Do I sound smart? Funny? As sassy and awesome as I am in real life??
But the more I wrote, the more I realized that Elizabeth Gilbert’s words in Big Magic are true: “Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred. What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all.”
The act of writing, of creating, is important—for me, for you, for everyone. But also, it’s just writing. No need to freak out about it.
#2: There’s always something to share
A few of my first articles were super personal (like my decision not to diet for my wedding), so the writing flooded out of me. They were stories I needed to tell. But after what needed to come out was out, what was left?
Uh, lots. For better or for worse, there is always something to say, something to share. As dancer and writer Twyla Tharp says, “Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable. Everything feeds into my creativity.” Thank goodness for that!
#3: Our stories are both unique and universal
One of the coolest reminders I’ve had while writing is just how universal our stories are, even if they seem so personal to us.
Over the past forty weeks, I’ve had friends, family, and acquaintances reach out and say “I read your article about ____, and that sounded just like my experience” or “I’m going through the same thing.” We are far more connected than we realize, and that is a magical thing.
#4: Everyone’s voice matters
When I was a teacher, I told my students over and over again that their voices mattered, that the world needed their stories. These past forty weeks is the first time I’ve really walked my talk. I
believed enough in my voice to put it out there. I remembered that what I say matters.
And the same goes for you, too! Whether you write for a blog, a newspaper, a circle of friends, or just for yourself, please know that what you have to say matters!